No.: 5/2019Newsletter "UBA aktuell"

Dear Reader,

Are you interested in finding out how good the quality of the air is where you live? Or perhaps you are looking for detailed data on air quality in Germany for scientific purposes? In this newsletter, we would like to introduce you to our significantly enhanced and improved information offering. No good news on clean air: diesel passenger cars continue to emit far too much nitrogen dioxide on the road in typical driving operations – including vehicles that fulfil emissions standards 6a, b and c. The latest measurements and calculations completed by the UBA in cooperation with five further European environmental and transport authorities also show, however, that cleaner is possible with the right technology: Diesel passenger cars which comply with the Euro 6d-TEMP emission standards comply with the EU limit values in typical driving operations. We have also taken a close look at the new electric pedal scooters – we discuss this and more in the current issue of our newsletter.

Wishing you happy reading

The UBA press office

How good is our air? New information available from app and UBA website

the Luftqualität app on a smartphone
The app has up-to-date information about particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone pollution.
Source: Umweltbundesamt

How good is the air that we breathe? Since the end of August, reliable and up-to-date information has been available from Luftqualität [Air Quality], the free and ad-free app of the German Environment Agency (UBA) for Android and iPhone devices. The app posts hourly updated data on harmful pollutants such as particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide and ozone. The data is collected from more than 400 air quality measuring stations across Germany. An air quality index (AQI) ranging from "very good" to "very poor" also provides an instant view of the air quality at every station. Depending on the data reported, the app issues health advice about doing outdoor activities. Users can choose to receive warning alerts when air quality is poor.

Together with the launch of the app, UBA has upgraded its air data web portal in an even clearer design. A new feature is the air quality index which, just as the app does, provides a quick overview of current conditions. It also offers diagrams of AQI trends from past to present. The air data portal has maps of Germany which show the concentrations of one of five air pollutants (particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide) in specific regions and on specific days, and in some cases times of day. There is also an ozone forecast for the current day and a two-day outlook. The measured concentrations for all five pollutants are up-to-date but historical data is also available. Users can look up data for several stations or pollutants and time periods. Results can also be downloaded. Tables of exceedances of the short-term limit and target values for particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide and ozone can be generated for the current year. An annual tabulation option enables users to compare annual mean values from earlier years for each pollutant, going back to 2000. Furthermore for any year and pollutant, the tables show data on exceedances of limit and target values at every station.

Consumer tips

Climate-neutral living in everyday life

According to your lifestyle, your personal CO2 footprint can vary considerably. In which areas do especially large amounts of greenhouse gas arise? This explanatory film shows how we can bring about less CO2 in our everyday life.  read more (in German)

More climate protection with a new heating system

Heating consumes the most energy in households and is therefore responsible for by far the most CO2. If a heating system is changed, the levels of energy consumption can be reduced significantly – by using a more energy-efficient boiler or switching to a heating system which uses renewable sources of energy, for example. This isn’t just more environmentally friendly, it can also save on heating costs.  read more (in German)

UBA positions

E-scooters currently make no contribution to the transport revolution

How environmentally friendly are the new electric pedal scooters? An initial summary and answers to frequently asked questions.  read more (in German)

Science and research

Stau in der Stadt.

Real nitrogen oxide emissions of diesel passenger cars remain too high

Diesel passenger cars with Euro 3 to 6a/b/c emission standards continue to have elevated levels of nitrogen oxide emissions in real-world driving conditions. Their emissions greatly exceed the limit values set in the laboratory measuring cycle. Diesel passenger cars with Euro 6d-TEMP, however, comply with the limits specified by the EU, also in real world conditions. read more

Photovoltaikanlage auf dem Dach des Umweltbundesamtes in Dessau-Roßlau

Plenty of sun and wind sets electricity records in Germany

In the first half of 2019 electricity produced from renewable energies made notable gains over the same period in the previous year. During the first six months of the year production was around 129 billion kilowatt hours, about 10 percent more than the same period in 2018 (+ 12 billion kWh). But the rate of new build of wind energy turbines has slowed in 2019. read more

Electric mobility beats hydrogen with the energy revolution in the area of transport

According to a new study, electric vehicles are the most cost-effective option for turning transport into a greenhouse gas neutral sector. The most expensive approach would be to switch to fuel cell vehicles which use hydrogen generated using renewable electricity. In comparison with the direct use of electricity, in the time frame of 2020 - 2050, this option would cost approximately 600 billion Euros more.  read more (in German)

Land certificate trading – targets for land use achievable

Municipal trading in land certificates could enable the sustainability targets of the German government to be achieved, resulting in a reduction in land use to fewer than 30 hectares per day by the year 2030. These were the findings of a realistic pilot project on land certificate trading in which 87 municipalities from all over Germany successfully put the instrument to the test.  read more (in German)

How do social changes succeed?

Big problems require big solutions. In view of the climate crisis and species extinction, increasing numbers of people are demanding a transformation of society. A background paper from the UBA shows that change can be achieved through innovations such as solidarity-based agricultural models, citizen participation and the creation of alliances.  read more (in German)

Modern environmental analysis for active pharmaceutical substances developed

Current sampling concepts and modern analytical detection methods have been combined, with the objective of developing, optimising and validating standardised methods for selected active pharmaceutical ingredients in different matrices from water to sediment, suspended matter and biota (fish). A water monitoring concept has also been developed.  read more (in German)

Phosphorus recyclates pollute the soil significantly less

Where sewage sludge is used as fertiliser, not only do heavy metals and organic pollutants, but also pharmaceutical residues such as antibiotics find their way onto farmers’ fields. This damages the soil organisms and encourages the dissemination of multi-resistant bacteria in the environment. A study by the UBA shows that pharmaceutical residues in sewage sludge can be reduced significantly by technical phosphorus recovery.  read more (in German)

The impact of climate change on mining

Climate change and its impact, such as extreme weather events, are increasing the environmental risks posed by global mining. These were the findings of the latest research results presented by the UBA at the 15th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF). The affected businesses and authorities are required to adapt better to the changes.  read more (in German)

Car use among young people remains high

A UBA study on the mobility behaviour of younger and older people demonstrates that cars largely remain as popular with young people as ever. At the same time, the mobility of older people (in motor vehicles) is also increasing. Both groups are of significant importance for a change of direction in the field of transport, and should be supported with targeted measures to support sustainable mobility.  read more (in German)

Making the prevention of waste easier to measure

Preventing waste conserves resources and protects people and the environment. Goals and measures were therefore determined in the 2013 waste prevention programme of the German federal government, and possible indicators were named. It is not yet known how effective these have been, however. To make the success of waste prevention measures scientifically measurable, appropriate indicators have been developed for a UBA study.  read more (in German)

How climate change and material inputs are changing forests

Location factors such as the soil and climate determine which trees and other plant and animal species thrive in woodland and the rate of wood growth. The extent to which climate change and nitrogen inputs are changing the structures, functions and outputs of forests can be assessed scientifically with the "Assessment Concept for Ecosystem Integrity" developed by the UBA.  read more (in German)

German moss monitoring results published

The chemical analysis of moss species allows conclusions to be drawn on atmospheric pollution (bio-monitoring). Since 1990, pollution by most metals has fallen significantly across the board. No relief was evident for nitrogen in comparison with 2005. In the 2015/16 survey, organic pollutants were also investigated for the first time.  read more (in German)

Industry & environment

Ein Acker mit Traktorspuren.

Quo vadis, agriculture?

A new publication by the Agriculture Commission at the Federal Environment Agency (KLU) proposes a fundamental reorientation of the agriculture system in five main areas: nutrient surpluses, food system, international agricultural trade, rural development, and digitalisation. read more

Increasing demand for green electricity

The demand for and supply of green electricity has been increasing continuously for several years. The number of green electricity products has risen from 810 in 2013 to 1,157 in 2017. Almost 80 percent of electricity suppliers offered at least one green electricity product in 2017. At the same time, fuel mix disclosure is little known and is presently unable to have much of an impact. Such were the findings of the "Green Electricity II Market Analysis".  read more (in German)

Minimum standard for recycling capability of packaging online

Manufacturers of certain types of packaging are legally obliged to participate in dual systems to ensure that the waste packaging is collected, separated and recycled. From 2019, the required fees have been oriented to how easily the individual type of packaging can be recycled. The minimum standard on how to determine the recycling capability has now been published.  read more (in German)

KRU recommends substitution rate as yardstick for the success of recycling

Recycling quotas only reveal the proportion of recyclable materials from the waste which is sent for recycling. The Resource Commission at the UBA (KRU) recommends the introduction of an additional substitution rate in order to obtain a realistic measure of success for the circular economy. The substitution rate shows which quantities of primary raw materials are replaced by recycling raw materials.  read more (in German)

Environmentally friendly air conditioning on trains

Today, railway air conditioning systems which use outside air for cooling are an environmentally friendly and economical solution, making climate-damaging refrigerants superfluous. Cost-reducing measures during maintenance work or through innovative designs, for example, can further cut the costs of environmentally friendly, air-supported air conditioning systems on trains.  read more (in German)

Climate protection in businesses: discussion on climate management

Many businesses want to make an active contribution to climate protection and the achievement of international climate targets. They are therefore introducing a climate management policy or already describe themselves as "climate neutral". Clear differences in quality exist, however. At a workshop in Frankfurt, the UBA discussed credible climate management with 21 businesses from a variety of sectors.  read more (in German)

Environment at municipal level

Löwenzahn und anderes Unkraut in Ritzen von Treppenstufen einer Steintreppe

Less use of pesticides in municipalities is possible

Landscape planning and pest control are among the many tasks which municipalities are charged with in their mandate to protect citizens and maintain infrastructure. It often requires the use of plant protection agents and biocides. A specialist conference hosted by the UBA showed that alternative methods are already making it possible to do without chemicals that are harmful to the environment. read more

Environmental justice at the municipal level

In socially deprived areas, the health hazards that arise from environmental influences such as noise or air pollution can often be very high. Maria Krautzberger, President of the UBA, on the topic of environmental justice in an interview with demo magazine: How can municipalities successfully combine protecting the environment and the climate with health and social justice?  read more (in German)

New international standard supports adaptation to the impact of climate change

In addition to climate protection measures, decision-makers are focusing increasingly on a systematically planned adaptation to the consequences of progressive climate change – in cities and municipalities as well as in businesses. The new ISO 14090 standard of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) provides guidance on how effective adaptations can be applied on a step-by-step basis.  read more (in German)

Evaporation of rainwater: potential for cooling in cities and surrounding areas

The use of rainwater for evaporative cooling is a relatively new approach for adapting urban spaces to climate change. The UBA has investigated how the relevant techniques and processes affect buildings, neighbourhoods and the city as a whole, the energy savings that can be achieved and which recommendations for action can be derived from them.  read more (in German)

Environment at international level

Law & legislation

Amendment of StVO (German Road Traffic Regulations) must end the disadvantages of the environmental alliance

As regards the amendment of the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO), the UBA recommends a greater level of environmental and climate protection. It welcomes the strengthening of cycling and car sharing. The amendment needs to go far further, however. Public transport, supplemented by cycling and pedestrian traffic, bike-, ride- and car sharing, form the backbone of urban mobility. The amendment of the StVO must therefore strengthen the rights of these methods of transport.  read more (in German)

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As recounted


In 2017 only about 42 percent of all beverages was packaged in reusable bottles, landing the market share 0.5 percentage points lower than in 2016. New data is based on the latest survey by the German Environment Agency (UBA) of the beverage filling sector in Germany. The reusables share therefore continues to fall far short of the 70 percent target required by the Packaging Act.



Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency)
Präsidialbereich / Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Internet; Pressesprecher
Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau, Germany
Phone: +49(0) 340 2103-2416
Fax: +49(0) 340 2103-2285

Corinne Meunier

Six times a year our Newsletter „UBA aktuell“ provides information about the latest activities and work of the German Environment Agency (UBA).

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